Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Carpe Diem

When Rae from Fit for Art reached out to me about participation in a fashion show at the local Expo, I gladly said yes. They are such nice people and I like their system of garment construction. I have each of their base patterns plus a few of the pattern variations.

Their first pattern was the Tabula Rasa, or blank slate. It is an easy-to-sew and fit pattern with a narrow front, a narrow back and a side panel. The sleeves are inserted in an interesting fashion that I cannot adequately describe. I've made both jackets and vests from this pattern.

Tabula Rasa jacket in handwoven cotton from Guatemala and Eureka pants in cross-dyed linen.

Their next pattern was the Eureka pants pattern. These are fitted pants with darts in the front and back for proper fitting. When this was issued I was fortunate enough to go to the Expo where they set up a little booth and fit me perfectly. Then I lost weight. But because the fit was correct to start, lost weight did not change the overall fit. I simply took in the side seams and they seem to still fit nicely elsewhere. 

Their most recent pattern is the Carpe Diem dress pattern. Here they have created another *blank slate* modeled after the original jacket pattern. Of course I ordered it right away. But I had not made one yet.

I used the invitation to model as a reason to make my first Carpe Diem dress. It was fun to sew and I will enjoy wearing it. I chose cotton pinwale corduroy from stash in a gorgeous royal blue. It was an easy fabric to manipulate though I was careful to iron from the back side of the fabric. 

It is a little larger and a little shorter than I expected. I fit into size M according to the measurement chart. I wasn't sure about whether to make straight side panels or angled ones but decided on the wider angled ones to make certain this corduroy did not get stuck on my hips. I think I could take it in but, for now, I'm leaving it alone.

The pattern includes a long dress hemline, as well as a *medium* dress length, and a tunic length. I cut mine along the medium line. I'm not all that tall at 5'5" (and shrinking) but I notice the ladies at Fit for Art are petite. As long as I wear leggings or tights, I think it's OK. 

To ensure the longest length possible (yes, I should have checked finished back length first), I cut 3" bias strips in a remnant of cotton striped fabric. This allowed me to take it up only 1/4" when I hemmed it.

Just for fun, I also used the striped fabric for the neck facings. This part of the construction is nice, as the facings get caught in the vertical princess seams. 

I finished it the day before the fashion show. Whew! 

After the show, I went back and inserted pockets in the side panels and added a striped facing to the sleeve hem too so that I can roll the sleeves. I found the sleeves to be just a bit short too.

It was a pleasure to make this up and I hope to make some blouse versions next. I might go down a size but I'll take finished measurements before cutting fabric. What a good idea, right?

The Carpe Diem dress can be finished with a zipper in the back or a key-hole opening. I wanted my version to be V-neck and I wanted it to slip over my head. To accomplish this, I simply drew a straight line from the shoulder to the center front on my fabric. I measured to make sure it would slip over my head.

Then I made the same change to the front facing.

The only other change was a slight forward shoulder and rounded back adjustment. Once again, Fit for Art has created a super versatile pattern, I think! Nice work, ladies.

Today I woke up and just needed to make something. So I pulled out some quilt cotton that was gifted to me and constructed a little bag. It fits my new phone or sunglasses. Some days I just need a little taste of sewing, nothing serious.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Berwick Hack

The Berwick St Tunic came out a couple of years ago, I think. My first one was straight from the pattern with a few fit adjustments. I used a nice red and black cotton print. I need to pull it out and wear it again now that winter might be in the rear view mirror.

I love the fit around the neckline, shoulders and bust. The sleeve is beautifully drafted with height and a nice curve at the wrist.

This Nani Iro fabric has been marinating in stash for a while, petted occasionally. And I am so pleased that I finally cut into it. Just right for this simplified Berwick, I think. It looks black in the pictures but is really a deep navy, a favorite of mine.

This hack involves eliminating the *skirt* on the front and making it shirt length. I measured my new Sterling jacket to determine the length so that I can wear them together. I cut a size S with a forward shoulder adjustment. 

I extended the front placket to the hemline and cut two right sides so that I could use larger buttons. The original pattern includes a hidden placket that requires fairly small buttons. I decided I wanted visible buttons because it creates a kind-of vertical line in the front, always a good thing.

I also added an inverted pleat in the back, so that there is something back there besides a flat piece of fabric. This adds a little flare to the overall silhouette in a place where my flare is long gone.

Of course, the fabric is the star. What a luscious fabric this company produces. And the prints are artful and unique. More Liberty than Liberty. Soft, yet presses beautifully. Light and perfect for my hot summers though I want to wear it now! And that border print. I just love it. 

Using a border print in this way requires a little faith that it will hang properly because it is cut along the cross-wise grain, instead of length-wise. This fabric is stable enough that it is not an issue, as far as I can tell.

I was working with a limited amount of fabric and so decided to use some of my precious real Liberty of London for the inside collar, as well as a bias facing for the hem line.

I felt it needed just a little punch, so I added some frou-frou: bow ties on the sleeve cuffs instead a simple button. I also added two darts on each side so that the sleeves are little more narrow. I guess my wrists are small - TSW sleeves often feel too roomy at the wrist for me. 

And, yeah, the first time I dip them those ties in spaghetti sauce, I'll be re-thinking that design feature.

I am crazy about this shirt.